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Home Feng Shui Knowledge & Wisdom Cycles of Elements The Feng Shui elements - their properties, cycles and use in enhancements

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The Five Elements and their Cycles
Feng Shui Cycle The 5 Elements theory has the same underlying philosophy as the Yin/Yang Theory —that of constant change and evolution and of reaching a balance. The elements (or "winds") as they are known in Chineseare are earth, metal, fire, wood and water. They can be best understood as phases of a constantly moving cycle. Each grows and replaces the next in much the same way as the seasons progress. Each of the elements can be seen as the manifestation of a particular aspect of the Chi, the eternal energy flowing through each animate and inanimate object in the universe.

Each element has its own properties. Of all the elements Fire is the most powerful. It represents forceful energy. The element Earth represents grounding and support, Wood signifies growth, Water symbolizes release and renewal, and finally the element of metal represents mental power.

Elements and Their Properties

Chinese philosophy also has these elements to correspond to colors, shapes, tastes, seasons, directions and parts of the body, among other things.

  • Fire Element (forceful energy) –The colors that represent the element of fire (expansion and transformation) are red and orange or any other bright color that bounces light and energizes. The shapes that create the energy of fire are angular such as pyramids, triangles, diamonds, and sunbursts. These shapes send energy quickly in all directions and therefore create movement and change.
  • Earth Element (grounding and support) – The element Earth is associated with muted tones such as yellows and brown. These colors slow the energies. Shapes of the earth energy are squares and rectangles; they are horizontal shapes that encourage the grounding of energy. Changing artwork and windows from portrait to landscape can increase the earth energy in a home.
  • Wood Element (personal growth) – This element encompasses colors that are clear and energizing. These colors are greens associated with growth and purples inviting abundance. Wood represents energy that moves vertically and is therefore associated with cylinders and columns.
  • Water Element (release and renewal) – The element of water is expressed in dark blues and black. These colors invite personal wisdom. The energy of water element is represented by any shape that produces flow. Still water energy is represented by any shape that would holds water and creates a womb like effect. Moving water shapes are drawn as cascades or ripples. This energy flows to the sides and down.
  • Metal Element (mental power) – The metal element is introduced through the colors of white, silver and gray. These colors are sharp and influence intelligence. The metal colors are also represented by the powerful rainbow and bring both healing and creativity. The circle is the shape that brings in the metal element. In a circle, energy is constantly moving in an expanding cycle sending energy outward. This flow of energy often brings individuals into a collective commune.
Feng Shui ElementsEach element can have both yin or yang characteristics. For example:

Yin metal would be soft and pliable like silver, while yang metal would be hard like steel.

Plants that are green and healthy are the example of yang wood, where the woody and dead plants can be considered to be as yin.

Paintings of water and wavy shaped curtains have yin water energy where as fish tanks and fountains are yang water objects.

Fire, though often, not always yang. Yin fire comes in form of candles, soft lighting, clove and cinnamon incense...there can be thousands of examples.

It is the flow of Chi through the five elements that makes it yin and yang. The flow of Chi represents expansion and transformation. Balancing these five elements in an environment optimizes its Chi and brings peace of mind to individuals living in that area and creates a space that is both inviting and relaxing.

Feng Shui uses elements to enhance and balance the personal Chi. But before you can understand the use of these elements for achieving balance you have to understand the cycles of these elements. All the elements can enter into cycles that can either be constructive or destructive. In nature the destructive and constructive cycles are balanced, but in a space we can create the balance using the Feng Shui.


Wood Fire Earth Metal Water Wood

Water Fire Metal Wood Earth Water

In the constructive cycle, wood creates fire which creates earth and so forth. This uses the positive manifestations of each of the elements and shows basic compatibility. For instance, a person born in a wood year would have an elemental compatibility with a person born in water or fire year. In the reverse, water puts out fire, which destroys metal, which chops wood, which depletes the earth, which is washed away by water. Two elements next to each other in their destructive cycle are NOT compatible. So when we are making use of these elements one cannot use them together. Then there is a concept of a buffer element; if a compatible element is placed in between two destructive elements it can lessen their impact.

The five elements are also important in Chinese medicine because each element also corresponds to an organ of the body: Water with the kidney, fire with the heart, earth with the spleen, metal with the lungs and wood with the liver. The Correspondences of the five elements has considerable diagnostic significance in Chinese medicine because each of the elements is related to separate external easily visible bodily parts or organs. Since the Liver(wood) is related to the nails and the eyes for instance, diseases of live may often be diagnosed by inspecting the eyes and the nails. Additionally, since the liver is related to the emotion of anger, this also assists in the diagnosis of wood diseases. It can also be seen from the correspondences, that the spleen (earth) is sensitive to dampness, the liver (wood) to wind, the lungs (Metal) to dryness, the kidneys (water) to cold, and the heart (Fire) to heat.


Destructive cycle of ElementsThe basic philosophy of Chinese life is to strive for balance in all things - this is also the basis of physical Feng Shui. Therefore, if you immediately want to get some benefits in your life, use Feng Shui Colors, shapes, and Feng Shui Elements in your home to boost your personal Chi. For example, if you find that you are a person who is quick to anger and very reactive your personal Chi may contain too much fire energy, balance this by introducing elements of water such as the colors of blue and black, or place a fountain or other water feature in your bedroom. This will enhance the water energy and bring a balance to the fire energy.

Next, look for balance in the overall surroundings, be it your work place or a room in your home. Are all the elements well represented and in balance? If you have too much of any one element, you will feel its effect in your life. Too much fire will mean many arguments or fiery exchanges with others. Too much earth can bog you down, making it difficult to enjoy life or take risks.

Last but not least— and this is the hardest part of Feng Shui for most — is understandig the one universal truth that applies across all schools of Feng Shui thought: clutter impedes the flow of Chi. This truth applies to having too many things scattered across a floor as well as to the use of too many enhancements. So I caution you: Even if you use the elements in their constructive cycle, don’t do too much enhancing and refrain from using the all the Feng Shui articles together. Doing so can have the same effect on your environment as clutter.

Also remember that more than the physical, there is the spiritual aspect of Feng Shui that speaks of attaining balance from within. The Spiritual Feng ShuiTM is about having a clutter free mind( Clutter blocks the flow of Chi). It is also about being a good human being since it helps you to receive the positive Chi from the universe to heal your soul. The Spiritual Feng ShuiTM promises you an universal balance and harmony to improve your life – each day, each hour and each moment.

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